Profile of a Successful Canadian Entrepreneur
When I was approached by public relations firm about possible media coverage for Facility Services Corporation, I must admit I was a bit hesitant. I used to be in the PR game, and anyone in the business world can claim they’ve got a great story. Each month I get hundreds of emails from companies who want to be in the CBJ – but this time it was a little different – for several reasons.
The first reason this time was different – because of the spokesperson for the company. I could gather through the email I got that Facility Services Corporation President Jason McCague was passionate, and boy was my guess bang on. The second reason I wanted to learn more about Jason was because of his website, which really struck me. Here was a cleaning company offering more than a traditional service.
When I finally met Jason, it was clear that Jason is an entrepreneur that is all about grassroots business development. Right away I was struck by Jason’s passion for his business, and his unwavering professionalism – both key assets to a great entrepreneur. He told me how he got to be where he is, and what brought him to this place at a relatively young age –he’s 31.
Sara Kopamees: Is being a workaholic in your nature?
Jason McCague: “I’ve always worked - from lemonade stands to paper routes, to scooping ice cream. I’ve had every job and I’ve always had a job. Working was more of a priority than school was. I was just more focused and driven that way.
SK: Something tells me this isn’t the first business you’ve started.
JM: No. I cleaned windows on residential homes, and did that business starting at 17. I had a car, a ladder, and a bucket. For two summers I did that while living at home, and that was my first sense of business, where I learned the whole feel and sales pitch.
SK: Did you know you wanted to get into the service business?
JM: Yes. When I left my window cleaning and started another business, I know it was going to be the service industry. I knew nothing, and learned as I went. I like the service business, especially a service that is important and gives you repeat business. You gain a customer and they’re a customer as long as they’re happy. The cleaning business is not a glamorous business, but it’s a necessary business, and recession-proof.
SK: So why have you been so successful? What have you done differently than other cleaning companies?
JM: I have been trying to change things a little. My competitors are stuck in the past as far as the industry itself, and the industry can have a strange reputation that I’m not all about, so I try to differentiate myself from that. The old school approach can be unprofessional. Often when companies are preparing to meet with a housekeep company, there’s this feeling that it’s going to be a pain because the person coming in might not have a business approach to things. However, the main reason for our success has been twofold, 1) the success we have had within the medical industry and 2) working closely with large international companies with multiple locations across Canada that need to be managed and serviced. We have demonstrated significant cost savings to these companies, many of which are publicly traded. They prefer to work with one service company so they can have the same consistent service and trust that their costs are in line.
SK: Well you’ve been in business since 2002. You started with two or three people and now you have how many?
JM: Now we’re at 60 or 70, and have gone from six accounts to well over 100. And we’re Canada-wide.
SK: Wow. How does that even happen? How did you swoop in and do all of this?
JM: We learned customer loyalty and what customers expect from their service companies. We were taking on a lot of accounts from bigger companies based on the fact that they were too big and too old to service customers the way they should. I’ve always maintained a philosophy that no matter how big or large we get we will service our customers properly – that is why we never lose customers unless a building is sold. The value of a dollar is a lot more now.
SK: Obviously value-adds are very important for this business.
JM: The value added side of things is a huge part of our success. I figured out that most companies demand more from their service companies and expect more for their dollar. Those extras have always been received very well – we have been setting up recycling programs and consolidating their services in an effort for them to focus on doing what they do! If they manufacture shoes that’s what they should be focusing on! “Let us look after your building” - those are the types of initiatives we focus on.
SK: How do make sure your staff onsite and otherwise have the same attitude as you?
JM: I’m really lucky. I have the same guys working for me that have since the beginning, I’m really lucky and so we pay very well and reward. Loyalty from our staff is huge, and they really like to do a good job.
SK: How did you learn how to be a good manager?
JM: I had so many jobs growing up and I knew that I reacted best to those where the employer spoke nicely to me and treated me fairly – I find that is the best way.
SK: What do you think your personal philosophy is with growing your business?
JM: I’ve learned that if you go outside what you’re good at – it can be disastrous. I’ve tried to take over the world, and it doesn’t work. What we’re good at is servicing our clients, and showing companies how to get some cost savings and streamline all of their services – landscaping and recycling to snow removal. It’s comforting for a company to know that you can have one company to do all of that. Part of the reason also that we’re in business is because if something does happen, we respond within the first hour if not the day to a client’s concern.
SK: So what do you to manage your growth?
JM: We never take on an account that we can’t service to our standards. We never jeopardize a relationship for growth.
SK: What about you? What about your future after Facility Services, if there is one?
JM: I expect I’ll do this for the rest of my life, I love what I do. Margins can be tight, competition is tight, business takes a lot of luck and perseverance is key. But once you’ve got it, you have to keep it. And my favourite part is the growth and managing my own company.
Facility Services has grown, according to Jason, in a fast but controlled way. The company now operates in Ontario, B.C., and Alberta – and is looking towards business in Quebec. Jason was proud to tell me that Facility Services is a green company. The company doesn’t use any harsh chemicals instead opting for more environmentally-friendly products, and they never pass on the extra costs of using green products on to their customers. For more information on Facility Service Corporation, visit their website at www.facilityservices.com.
FACILITY SERVICES CORPORATION unique Communication Program offers tools that clearly define how we can best serve your needs. These tools include Contact Evaluation Reports, Inspection Reports, and Past Performance Evaluations to ensure that you are receiving the utmost in quality service – and to your specifications. In addition, an Account Follow-Up Sheet is maintained on each account, and periodic phone calls and/or personal inspections are made by FACILITY SERVICES CORPORATION Customer Service Representatives.
Areas we service are:
• Manufacturing Facilities
• Automotive Dealerships
• Food Service and Restaurants
• Resorts and Hotels
• Medical/Health Care-Facilities
• Educational Institutions
• Sporting Venues
• Financial Institutions
Within each market FACILITY SERVICES CORPORATION provides comprehensive services, including:
• Facility Cleaning Services
• Contract Management
• Carpet Care
• Hard Floor Surface Maintenance and Restoration
• Window Washing
• Waste Management and Recycling
• Confidential Document Destruction
• Landscaping, Snow and Ice Management
• Furniture Moves and Setups
• Fire and Flood Restoration
• Training Programs
• Mechanical Maintenance